After practicing distance learning where necessary and possible, AVSI is now working with teachers, local partners, and social workers to reinvent safe ways to meet the children again.
Nyay Myar Oo lives in Demoso, a city in eastern Myanmar. She was expected to start school soon but, due to increasing COVID-19 cases in her country, it is now uncertain that schools will reopen. If she cannot go to school, school will go to her: thanks to the Italian Bishops Conference funds, AVSI prepared teachers for one-to-one lessons, distributed home-based learning kits, and trained parents to help their children at home.
In response to the health contingency by the Covid-19 AVSI in Mexico in alliance with Centro Lindavista, Sepicj A.C. and Sikanda A.C. with the co-financing of the European Union, in the framework of the project "Pole for Participatory Citizenship", supports the distance learning projects of 6 Collectives and Civil Society Organizations in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, Mexico.
Thanks to the financing, 94 children and adolescents are benefited through the 6 projects supported. The interventions integrate group and individual distance learning classes and semi- attendance sessions on the following topics: geography, history, natural sciences, mathematics, logical-mathematical reasoning, reading and writing skills, environmental care, agriculture and vegetable production at home, promoting the use of the Mixtec as a native language.
Due to the COVID-19 contingency, for the new school year that began on August 24, 2020, the government established a television educational scheme in line with the “Aprende en Casa II” program. In addition, students must maintain communication and contact with their teachers by phone or social networks, download educational materials through SEP's platforms and submit assignments and evaluations via email or WhatsApp. However, in Mexico only 44.3% of households have a computer and 56.4% have an internet connection.
In the 33 countries where we work, we support the safe reopening of learning spaces. Schools do much more than teach children how to read, write and count. They also provide nutrition, health and hygiene services, and psychosocial and mental health support, while dramatically reducing the risk of violence and early pregnancy. On September 7th, schools reopened again in Palestine. Here, teenaged students at Effetà Institute and Terra Santa College in Bethlehem, our local partners, use personal protective equipment to participate in in-person lessons.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Between mid-August and mid-September, children of the primary school Chemchem in Bunia went back to school for final exams. The new school year will start in October, hopefully in the same classrooms that have been empty since March. In Bunia and Goma, thanks to the support from the global fund Education Cannot Wait, we have made education accessible to 18,022 Congolese children, guaranteeing distance learning via radio since school closures and providing psychological support for students, parents and teachers.
Schools in Kenya closed in March, and the government declared that the academic year was considered "lost" due to COVID-19 restrictions. The lack of learning opportunities caused parents to engage their children more with house chores than studies.
To support families, AVSI introduced "small community schools" in Mutuati, a village in Central Kenya: groups of 15 children followed by AVSI educators who meet weekly. The initiative was inspired by traditional community education where children of the same age-group meet to sing, dance, and learn together. In small schools, children play but also read books and talk about them. They learn life skills and take care of daily chores, like cooking, cleaning, and farming.
In Nairobi, AVSI educators keep on meet kids at the Otiende Day Center
In Ivory Coast
The school year has started on September 14 with children timidly returning back to their classrooms. Precautions such as wearing a mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing are taken seriously and enforced. Teachers are beginning the year with ‘catch-up’ classes from the interruption back in March. AVSI is working alongside teachers, parents and students to assure a smooth and safe transition back to school and ensuring that education continues. The activity is part of USDA-funded project, "Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program."
In Sierra Leone
After 6 months, primary and secondary school have been finally re-opened on the 5th October. Thanks to ‘IMAGES:Improving MAnaGement of CSOs in Education Sector’ project funded by the European Union, AVSI worked with head-teachers of 8 primary schools in Freetown to guarantee a safe return to school. We have sensitized 15 communities through a mobile campaign to send pupils back in school as well as to avoid what has been happened after Ebola crisis namely, a drop on school enrolment for fear of infection. We have supported primary schools by explaining and providing them with the ministerial Guidelines and Protocols on the safe re-opening of school, disifectants for the environment and soap to guarantee a proper and constant hand-washing for school staff and children. Between July and August, teenager and young mothers who completed the tailoring course, were engaged on the production of 1650 cloth-facemasks. Thanks to AVSI social workers, these re-usable masks have been distributed to primary school going pupils and we have been able to explain children how to use them by playing and singing